San Francisco, California – Demand for gasoline in California rose one per cent in the third quarter of 2009, while diesel was down 10.6 per cent. It marked the second consecutive quarterly increase in gasoline consumption in the state.

The figures were released by Betty Yee, chair of the Board of Equalization, which monitors demand through tax receipts paid by fuel distributors.

In September 2009, gasoline demand rose 0.05 per cent, with Californians using 1.219 billion gallons of gasoline, compared to just under that during September 2008. The average California gasoline price at the pump in September was US$3.17 per gallon, compared to $3.84 in September 2008, a decrease of 17.4 per cent. September sales generated approximately $322 million in sales tax, an estimated $23 million less than in 2008. It would have been an estimated $59 million less, but the state portion of the sales and use tax increased by one per cent on April 1, 2009.

In the third quarter of 2009, gasoline consumption was up to 3.772 billion gallons, compared with 3.736 billion gallons in the third quarter of 2008.

A total of 244 million gallons of diesel fuel were sold in California in September 2009, compared with 254 million gallons in September 2008, a decline of 3.9 per cent. The price for diesel averaged $2.84 per gallon in September 2009, compared with $4.09 a year ago.

Diesel consumption declined 10.6 per cent in the third quarter of 2009, for a total of just over 654 million gallons. “Diesel consumption generally follows economic activity and is especially closely related to construction and transportation of goods,” Yee said. “These two areas of the economy were particularly hard hit during the recession, and have not yet recovered.”

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